Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Is It purposeful Thinking For Learning?

I always get asked how do you get students thinking? If students are analyzing through reflections and feedback then they are thinking. The process of analyzing begins at the start of the year by allowing time for students to continuously reflect by breaking down information into parts and reasons.  Also allowing time and tools for students to speak and document what they have learned, how they have learned through self and peer assessment.

It involves many layers of co-constructed criteria starting with comparing and contrasting from background information or new learning. Students also immediately reflect on their learning and thinking. Analyzing through reflections allows students to become focused thinkers.

I will speak to the process from recent examples that we completed in June on Social Studies. Social studies is as engaging as Science or any other content. The Grade six students unpacked the curriculum through issues between Canada and international communities.The Grade 5 students were investigating issues with all three levels of governments from federal, provincial and municipal.

Of course having access to all Google apps (video notes, Snagit, Screencastify, Kaizena, CleanSave, Text Help Study Skills) and IOS apps (audioboom, Explain Everything) does affect the ability for students to analyze and express their thinking through tech tools. At the beginning of the year through various tasks students unpacked the purpose of technology for their learning. In my previous blogs I have shared many examples on analyzing.

Analyzing information online by using extensions and Add on like CleanSave and Text Help Study Skills.

Using Kaizena for peer feedback.

Students also shared their learning by using Green Screen and iMovie.  

Co-constructed criteria for the argument
Co-constructed criteria when analyzing classmates argument 

Students self assessment using screencastify for the choices of text and images representing his argument through Meme visual on Google Drawing . 

Videos demonstrating the process.

When students are analyzing:
  • They break down information into parts and reasons
  • They are problem solving by self questioning, which could further present with more inquiry and critical thinking. This process of questioning begins developing from the beginning of the year
  • The students are also thinking about their content and the main idea
  • All assumption could be confirmed or revised to explain
  • The students are thinking when self reflecting or self-analyzing
  • The students also understand their point of view of their reasoning and learning by explaining
  •  They are assessing colleagues work they are also knowledge building. they are comparing and contrasting against their own thinking
  • Learning is exciting and engaging and purposeful 
  • They are building empathy and understanding of a classmate's thinking
  • They are documenting and making learning visible
  • They are building confidence through the metacognitive loops of reflecting and giving feedback
When planning, I question what authentic purposeful learning should my students experience? It is important to give students choices of tasks based on the big ideas with clear co-constructed expectations. A daily ritual to keep in mind: Am I giving students time to reflect, consolidate as a team and give peer feedback? 

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